Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Not the sort of surprise I'm keen on...

From the report Asteroid making surprise flyby at an 'unusually high' velocity (my bold):
 A newly discovered asteroid (not pictured) will make Halloween more thrilling by passing within 1.3 lunar distances (310,000 miles) of Earth. The object, which measures between 300 and 600 meters (1,000 and 2,000 feet) across, was discovered last week by the asteroid-hunting Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii, according to NASA. It'll streak by on October 31st at an "unusually" high encounter velocity of 35 km/s, or around 78,000 mph. By contrast, the Russian meteorite caught by vehicle cameras in 2013 was 17 meters (55 feet) across and traveled at a top speed of 19 km/s, while the one that flattened a Russian forest in 1908 measured 40 meters (130 feet).
There's no danger of a collision, but the asteroid would pack an enormous punch if it did hit the Earth, given its size and especially its velocity. It's also a bit alarming that astronomers only found it nine days ago, considering how close it already is to our planet.
Well, this would suggest that it's still quite on the cards that one day, NASA will announce that a substantial disaster will be taking place somewhere on the Earth with (perhaps) all of 10 days notice for people to head for the hills, or dig a bunker, or whatever.

All a bit of a worry....

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